The study was undertaken to develop a multidimensional measuring instrument for pain in the Norwegian language. The McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) was used as a model as it is a valid and reliable tool for pain measurement in English speaking countries. A series of steps were taken to develop a Norwegian pain questionnaire: (1) words describing pain were derived from 95 subjects (patients, students and health personnel); (2) 10 subjects allocated pain descriptors into groups; (3) 36 college student validated the word groupings; (4) 72 patients graded the words contained in each group according to intensity; and (5) the reliability of group items was tested. The study demonstrated that there are many descriptors of pain in the Norwegian language. The final version of the Norwegian pain questionnaire consisted of 106 pain descriptors divided into 18 groups. Validity of the classifications as well as reliability of the words was demonstrated. The actual value of the Norwegian pain questionnaire as a measuring instrument has not yet been documented.